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2 TIGERS

Author:

OVERALL RANK 7

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP DETROIT

Do these guys have one more run in them? I think so—they're not as good as Cleveland, but I can see a wild-card spot.... The key is Jordan Zimmermann bouncing back and giving them a big season. He tried to pitch with an injured oblique, maybe to justify the big contract, and it caught up with him. I think he'll come back.... Michael Fulmer has legitimate stuff. He reminds me of Zimmermann in that he's always in attack mode with the breaking stuff and is a super aggressive, competitive kid.... That's a formidable top three, with Justin Verlander. It's going to be impossible for him to duplicate what he did last season, but I love that he no longer relies only on the strikeout and knows how to save his bullets. He's made some big adjustments that are going to extend his career.... It's mind-boggling that after all these years, they still haven't figured out their closer situation. I'm sorry, but Frankie Rodríguez isn't going to cut it. Bruce Rondon is their only chance to stabilize the bullpen short of going out and getting a closer. I think Rondon will be closing for them by the All-Star break.... This is a great place for Justin Upton to just relax, learn from Miguel Cabrera and Víctor Martínez and put up big numbers. There's nothing he can do but learn, and there were flashes in the second half of things coming back together for him. He's going to put up big numbers.... This is still a very scary lineup—the veteran hitters know what they're doing. But if one of their old superstars goes down, things will go south in a hurry.

MANAGER BRAD AUSMUS

4TH SEASON WITH DETROIT

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

2B IAN KINSLER [DEFENSIVE STAR]

R-R .288 .348 .484 6.1

RF J.D. MARTINEZ [BARGAIN]

R-R .307 .373 .535 1.8

1B MIGUEL CABRERA [TEAM MVP]

R-R .316 .393 .563 4.9

DH VÍCTOR MARTÍNEZ [DECLINING]

S-R .289 .351 .476 1.6

LF JUSTIN UPTON [DECLINING]

R-R .246 .310 .465 2.0

3B NICK CASTELLANOS [RISING]

R-R .285 .331 .496 1.6

CF TYLER COLLINS

L-L .235 .305 .382 -0.2

C JAMES MCCANN [DEFENSIVE STAR]

R-R .221 .272 .358 1.1

SS JOSÉ IGLESIAS [DEFENSIVE STAR]

R-R .255 .306 .336 1.8

BENCH

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

C ALEX AVILA

L-R .213 .359 .373 1.0

UT ANDREW ROMINE

S-R .236 .304 .322 0.3

W--L ERA K/9 WAR

RH JUSTIN VERLANDER

16--9 3.04 10.0 6.6

RH MICHAEL FULMER [BARGAIN] [RISING]

11--7 3.06 7.5 4.8

RH JORDAN ZIMMERMANN [INJURY RISK]

9--7 4.87 5.6 0.2

RH ANIBAL SÁNCHEZ [INJURY RISK]

7--13 5.87 7.9 -1.2

LH DANIEL NORRIS

4--2 3.38 9.2 1.5

SV ERA K/9 WAR

RH FRANCISCO RODRÍGUEZ [INJURY RISK]

44 3.24 8.0 1.1

LH BRUCE RONDON

0 2.97 11.1 0.9

NEW ACQUISITION

2016 STATS

(R) ROOKIE

TEAM MVP

DEFENSIVE STAR

INJURY RISK

BARGAIN

RISING

DECLINING

MODEST PROPOSAL

After a quiet winter in which their biggest move was the trade of Cameron Maybin, the projected lineup for the Tigers features seven righthanded batters and switch-hitter Víctor Martínez. Having a lefthanded-hitting centerfielder is important, but lefty Tyler Collins is overmatched defensively by the spacious pasture in Comerica Park. The Tigers can help both the balance in their batting order and their defense by giving Anthony Gose another shot at the everyday job. Gose, who would bat ninth, hit .254/.321/.367 with 23 steals as the starter in 2015 and, at only 26 years old, hasn't lost a step.

BOTTOM LINE

A contender with stars on the mound and at the plate, but just an injury or two away from disaster.